Additive Manufacturing is still a young technology. At this stage, one of the main problems is to define a common language for standards.
Although the quality of the metallic powders can significantly affect the quality of final components, there are still not widely recognised standards related to metal powders properties. This issue becomes even bigger considering that metal powder properties affect each others.
Metal powder’s density, compressibility and ﬂowability mainly depend on particle size distribution while shape influences the physical and mechanical properties of the final parts.
As metal powder producer, MIMETE works everyday in order to be able to manage interactions among different metal powder features.
The focus of this study was to compare data on PSD coming from different laboratory instruments and to study the effect of powders morphology on this.
Particle Size Distribution (PSD) is usually the first requirement of metal powders users and is considered extremely critical in Additive Manufacturing. Unfortunately this subject is not yet sufficiently standardized and it is difficult to define unambiguous technical specifications for all powders. MIMETE laboratory is equipped with mechanical sieves, laser diffraction, image analysis and SEM: an internal R&R was implemented to compare results from different methods on powders characterized by different PSD and morphology. Experimental results show some interesting evidences, such as:
– Larger is the PSD, larger is the deviation between laser diffraction results obtained by wet and dry dispersion
– SEM is the most detailed method to understand if powder is affected by anomalies as satellites and clusters, but it is time consuming and just qualitative
– Image analysis is the only technique able to give complete information regarding “real” particle dimensions, but it is not commonly accepted.
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